Status of Digitalisation of ESCP Enforcement Procedures

Although there is a formal legal basis for electronic communication both by courts and by bailiffs (Polish: komornik) in civil proceedings (including enforcement proceedings), the relevant provision is not applicable in practice, as the creation of the ICT system that would allow for such electronic communication has not yet been completed. Simultaneously, the COVID-19 provisions introduced the electronic service of court documents via “Information Portal” in civil proceedings, but it does not apply to the enforcement proceedings. As a result, the general mean of communication in the enforcement proceedings is traditionally paper. The only specific digitalised process in the enforcement proceedings concerns the communication between bailiffs and administrative enforcement authorities and tax authorities. In that case, Article 7592 Code of Civil Procedure provides that a bailiff shall only effect service on administrative enforcement authorities and tax authorities via the ICT system or using electronic means of communication, as specified in Article 63a § 2 of the Act of 17 June 1966 on Administrative Enforcement Proceedings.

ESCP Procedural Aspects

1. Competent Enforcement Authority

In accordance with Article 50522 § 1 Code of Civil Procedure, the competent courts dealing with ESCP claims are common courts: district courts [sądy rejonowe] (that consider civil cases as courts of the first instance) and regional courts [sądy okręgowe] (that consider civil cases of greater complexity as courts of the first instance, and second instance appeals against judgments of district courts as courts of the second instance). There is no specialisation nor centralisation in determining the court’s competence. Every district and regional court in Poland deals with ESCP claims.

2. Rules on Service

Judicial documents (documents sent by a court to the parties and other persons involved in court proceedings) need to be served formally by courts (on an ex officio basis). The serving authorities are the postal operator, bailiffs and the court serving agency. As a rule, documents are served by the postal operator. Typically, documents are sent by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt. If addressees are natural persons, documents are served on them in person, i.e. handed to them, or, if they do not have legal capacity, to their legal representative. Documents intended for legal persons and organisations without legal personality are served on the body authorised to represent them in court or handed to employees authorised to receive documents by the head of the unit concerned. If a legal representative has been appointed or a person has been authorised to receive judicial documents, documents are served on these persons.

3. Language of the Certificate and Documents to be Appended

The official language is Polish. Other languages are not accepted.

4. Enforcement Fees

Rules governing the collection and amount of fees in the enforcement procedure are laid down in the Act of 28 February 2018 on Debt Enforcement Proceedings Costs. A bailiff charges enforcement fees for enforcing the judgment and performing other actions specified in the Act. Enforcement action is initiated by an application lodged by the creditor with an enforceable title attached to it. The application should name the debtor and define the manner in which enforcement is carried out.

As a general rule, in matters involving enforcement of pecuniary claims, the bailiff charges the debtor a proportional fee equivalent to 10% of the enforced claim. In matters involving enforcement of pecuniary claims resulting from the discontinuance of enforcement proceedings at the request of the creditor and on the basis of Article 824(1)(4) Code of Civil Procedure, the bailiff charges the debtor a proportional fee equivalent to 5% of the value of the outstanding claim.

The payment of a fee in the enforcement procedure can be made only in cash (in the bailiff’s office) or in non-cash form into the current account of the bailiff (by direct bank transfer).

5. Refusal, Stay, or Limitation of ESCP Enforcement Procedures

Pursuant to Article 50527a Code of Civil Procedure, if it is discovered that Regulation 861/2007 provides the grounds for a judgment to be set aside, the court that issued the judgment shall set aside the same at the defendant’s request. The request shall meet the requirements for pleadings and shall state the facts in support of the setting aside of the judgment. In this case, competent courts are district courts and regional courts (Article 50522 § 1 Code of Civil Procedure).

The court may hear the request in camera. Before setting aside the judgment, the court shall hear the claimant or order the same to submit a written statement.

Critical Assessment

Further harmonisation of the procedural provisions in ESCP

– More detailed information on national rules on the European e-Justice Portal

– Ensuring the up-to-date status of information on national rules on the European e-Justice Portal